Stolen Child: Finding My Way Back
When I was 15 years old long before I knew I was a Stolen Child and before I knew I was Ojibwe, I heard of the Seventh Generations Prophecy of the Ojibwe which states that in order to help the next seven generations you must take the time to go back and learn about the past seven generations. Even though I was told at the time I was a Mohican which is a different tribe to the Ojibwe, I internalized deeply the teachings of the Seventh Generations Prophecy and took it upon myself to apply this wisdom to my own life even though at the time I thought I was not Ojibwe. To me it didn’t matter that it was an Ojibwe Prophecy. Prophecy means word of God and to me that wisdom contained in the prayer was profound and I desired to help my own seven generations by looking back at the seven generations.
So I began with creating a prayer which I described a “Calling My Ancestors” prayer that I basically called out to my Ancestors whose very blood courses through my veins and connects us through all space and time. When I activated this prayer it surpassed the lies and illusions that had befallen my life that I was not even aware about. I did not call to any specific names of my ancestors but I called out to those who are biologically connected to me by blood. I strongly believe when I asked both Great Creator and my Blood Ancestors to come to me and help me find out who I am that is what turned the tide of breaking me out of my prison of illusions and lies that people had spoken over me all my life. My blood ancestors and Great Creator held the very keys of my true name, my true identity, my true parents, my true tribe, my true heritage, etc. I am grateful that I went to source. When I begin working on the genealogy trees for others as a “Family Artist” I discover that opening with a prayer to my Great Creator and their Ancestors I ask for higher help makes all the difference to heal the family and begin reconnection.
First, I begin working with the pedigree chart. I started out filling out the pedigree chart of the people who were lying to me that were saying that I was family yet I had yet to discover the truth. I studied both sides especially the Mohican. I filled out the pedigree chart as much as I could. Then I began a series of interviews inviting oral tradition with key relatives and elders to fill in the gaps so that I can see clearly where it is next I need to go.
When I did interviews I would have some questions premade up in my head before I went to see them. I would tell them I was putting together a family tree. I would share how far my progress I had gotten. I remember sitting at the kitchen table on 914 S. 11st in Milwaukee, WI 53204 to interview the woman who I believed to be my maternal grandmother who has several diagnosis of mental illness. She would sit there day after day and just stare at the wall and she would smoke cigarette after the cigarette while starring at the wall. However, of all the family she had the best collection of photos in her photo album. She must have had 15 full and completed photo albums she filled in herself of a thorough collection of every member of her family on both sides. I honestly have never seen someone visually document their family so thoroughly and beautifully. I remember sitting on the floor just pulling out her photo albums one by one and I would try to burn each picture into my mind believing that this was my family and must study and learn all about them. I would stare lovingly at each picture and I would ask the woman who was supposed to be my maternal grandmother questions based on the photographs I was looking at. She would explain to me where and when each photo was taken. This woman was a beautiful gift of photography and her subject was the family she so loved and adores yet today they rarely come by. However, within the pages of her photo albums her family was all together and safe and secure. Protected from all harm. Protected from loss and separation. In those pages was a dream for a family linked from soul to soul and heart to heart. The pages of her books was a beautiful dream that a family was always together and loving connected. The love can connect despite geography. Every family member including myself was lovingly interwoven into a whole and I admired her capacity to be the keeper of that dream of family unity for all of us. My supposed maternal grandmother she even wrote on the margins on the top of the pictures the full names, dates, and locations of everybody in the pictures. I used to get frustrated seeing each picture graffiti on top with her marker and her details that kinda marred the perfection of each picture. However, it was those very details that made sure that everyone was accounted for. Each date loving attached and each location admired and remembered. Most people write those details on the back of the pictures, but with her loving intent to archive every detail her distinctive handwriting became part of the very photo herself like an Artist’s signature on their favorite created artwork. Those were her artist’s signatures. When I was able to open her up and talk the pictures helped stimulate the conversation and she told me story after story of every family member. How her mother was an alcoholic and a single mother that raised two daughters while she did heavy work in the factories. How her grandmother was Native American and she was proud to have such a lineage in her family yet didn’t know the specific tribe she was. I am a person who is very artistic and right brained and to this day what I remember about the woman who was supposed to be my maternal grandmother she taught me the power of anchoring her family around a collection of expertly taken photographs that her only subject was the very family members of her life. Each photo represented a key to a long string of memories and stories and used those visual keys to help her unlock those details and memories that I was able to connect with the vast family archives within. I spent many many hours drinking black tea with milk and sugar and just opening photo albums and pointing to pictures asking her questions and her getting a flash of gleam in her eyes as she fondly remembered better days of days gone by. Of relatives that no longer walk the earth. Of a marriage that no longer exists. Of family units that are long since pulled apart. The stories about her mother growing up on a farm in Phillips, WI among 15 children where they grew and produced all food they would share and consume. There was no such thing as a term of organic there was only home grown food and this is how they survived the times of depression era. Being totally self sufficient and skilled in the art of nurturing and crafting food. I saw pictures of her maternal grandparents in ethnic clothes while they posed in front of a camera while living in Hungary, Budapest. I may not be this woman’s biological daughter, but I am the keeper of her memories and stories. Her photos are burnt inside my memory. I spent the quality time to ask her detailed questions of her own family. I believe I am the only one that took such great interest, was so thorough, and asked such detailed and lengthy questions about her past that I strongly believe I may be the only one who truly has her story inside me maybe more so than even her own flesh and blood. I am not even sure what Creator wants me to do about this fact of being the next in her line to hold these stories. Perhaps writing my story will help her story live on for it is my understanding she never knew the truth that I am not her biological grand daughter. She never knew the truth and she may never will. I was the one that holds the images of her photo album in my mind. I am the one who spent hours studied each and every face because I so strongly believed in the power of family. I believed in the power of the seventh generation prophecy of the Ojibwe long before I realized I am one of the Ojibwe. I know that my walk in uncovering who I am unlocked the story of another family that was not of my blood. Maybe someday someone may need to remember who they are from that family and maybe someday they will seek me out and ask for that family knowledge. For sure my ability as what I call a Family Artist one who uses my spirituality including calling the ancestors, one who takes the journey playfully, honoring oral tradition, studying the photos, my research skills, my genealogy skills, my time spent working in libraries and archives all are gifts that I have gained researching this family. In the end it may not have been my blood family, but it did give me the skills to unlock family secrets and construct family trees. I gained skills that I used now not just creating a family tree for myself and my husband but now as a Family Artist I am walking the path to help other Native American people find lost family members. It appears to be my specialty Native American genealogy and to rewove threads torn apart by genocide and intergenerational trauma.
When I was unaware that I was even Ojibwe, my prayerful connection to the Great Creator lead me down a path through the Seventh Generations Prophecy of the Ojibwe unbeknown to me my very own tribe and people. I applied an Ojibwe prophecy to my own life who at that time was thought to be Mohican. And I walked the path constructing the family tree. Walking step by step I filled in each generation. The key that unlocked the mystery who I was, was when I asked a man who worked for a detective agency to please help me understand the man who claimed to be my father I wanted to understand him better and why he abused me so severely the way he did. And it was this sincere desire to know him better to understand him better. When I asked that question it was the key that uncovered who I am. First, came the report and the verification identification that because of this man who claimed to be my father lead the man from the detective agency to the uncovering to me being the victim of being a victim of child pornography and he this man did verify it was me. The thought the man who I believed at the time was my only father could ever sexually exploit me for money sickened me. Bits of fragments of memory filter in remembering my uncomfortableness about having my shirt off in front of a camera. Cringing every time I see a baby in a tub of water with camera. Triggers memories of sexual abuse and exploitation in the bathroom. I remember having flash backs in the bathroom by the sound of water filling up a tub. A pain that no one else knows about me. When I went to see a Lakota medicine man in Minneapolis, MN he worked with me one on one and he said to me that I had indeed had been sexually abused as a very young child as a baby. That he can see that my soul has soul wounds of my innocence violated. He explained soul wounds happen to a child at a very early age due to sexual abuse and it rips apart the soul because of the damage to innocence. He said because of the victim is so young like myself was that Great Creator had to place his himself over the soul wound because it will never heal on it’s own. He also observed his Native American foster daughter who was at the time 5 years old that she clung to me the entire time while I was at the house. He said she held me so close to her because she intuitively could sense that I had been violated as a child and that my innocence was violated just like her so he said that is why she trusted me.
Today, I realize that all those years of searching the family I grew up with that wasn’t even my family upset me. I felt I lost precious time. I felt hurt and felt that all that love and attention I poured into these people never paid back. They never reciprocated my love. I was so loyal to this family so devoted. I used to do anything to learn anything about Mohican culture and language. I learned everything I could about Mohican language even signing up for the Breath of Life of Archival Institute of Indigenous Languages in Washington D.C. that only the top 60 Native American Language Activists and Linguists were picked out of 200 people. I thought it was a huge honor. I was so happy to serve what I thought was my tribe only to find out nobody cared that I achieved such an honor at the Mohican Tribe and nobody cared that I achieved great success handling 100 year old hand written documents in Mohican. The original sources! I made a prayer circle to ensure success of the journey for everybody that was involved. I fell the first day I was there and badly sprained both of my ankles that hurt me to this day and I was almost sent home from this glorious language learning experience and I refused to leave. I stayed there in in the American Indian Museum and I would not leave even though I was in so much pain even though I had to spend the entire two weeks there in a wheelchair. When one team member refused to help me and even sabotaged my online group of of Breath of Life that I was running. I should have known the moment he refused to help me by wheeling my wheel chair over a difficult terrain. I made videos. I took the time to create a beautiful coordinated Google+ Hangout Live broadcast all recorded with my team members because I knew we were coming from Hawaii, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and Maine and I thought wouldn’t it be special to connect before we arrived in Washington DC? Wouldn’t it be great to ask Dr Connor Quinn who had been at previous Breath of Life Archival Institute for Indigenous Languages some questions what to expect before we arrived? I took so many pictures of people who participated and every research paper that crossed my path. I even have the original photos on my computer and I ask myself why? I am not even Mohican and even the Mohican people don’t care I am even at Breath of Life. They don’t care that I had been actively searching for the Mohican language and culture for 13 years online in the name of Mohican-7 and Mohican-8? I am heartbroken of going out on a limb for Mohican people who don’t give a damn about their very ownMohican language. The tribe as a whole have completely given up on their very own Mohican language. I tried so hard. I thought for sure that if I made an amazing contribution maybe then they would love me. Maybe then they would finally treat me like a member of the tribe. I didn’t understand that I was not Mohican but Ojibwe and what damage being raised in the wrong tribe and them lying about my true identity harm would cause me? I underestimated the poison they infected me with their hatred. I was always going to be different and those that knew my true identity are criminals in my mind for keeping my true identity from me. I deserve to know my own name, my tribe, my parents name, my true heritage. I was robbed of it all! I was denied the truth! So how ironic it was that I was slave and suffer to try to win back the Mohican language and culture for people who did not appreciate it. They did not deserve me or my loyalty. I used to think can we even conceive that the Mohican tribe would even exist 7 generations into the future? I actually cared about the long term survival of the tribe. I used to get so mad everytime I heard that horrible name “Last of the Mohicans” and James Fennimore who wrote the glorification of the genocide of the Mohican people. Even Mohican people wouldn’t get what this bastard was writing about their own people’s annhiliation? I would cringe inside when Mohican people would praise the movie “Last of the Mohicans!” Are you blind? Do you not get what they’re talking about? It’s about the glorification and annihilation of the Mohican people and your just soaking it in and you feel nothing upset about your own death of yourself and your tribe? I would get disgusted when non natives and Native Americans would come up to me and try to educate me that the Mohicans are extinct and I was standing right there in front of them identifying at that time as a Mohican. My loyalty was misplaced. I submitted all materials and research gathered so lovingly from the Breath of Life Archival experience and I donated it to the Mohican Tribal Museum. I heard other participants had their whole tribe to come and learn about their discoveries in language and culture. When I announced my donations and my coming to talk about my experience the Mohican Tribal Museum did not invite anybody from the community to come and nobody was interested than my reference who was a chief from a neighboring tribe who did come when I was there but when he asked them if I was there talking about Breath of Life Archival Institute of Languages I was actually still at the museum and they falsely told that I was not there when I clearly was. I was very upset he missed the opportunity to see first hand everything I had donated to the Mohican Tribal Museum and he was upset that he missed out too. Seems like Intergenerational Trauma had hit this tribe so hard that they don’t generally care about their own Mohican tribal culture and language. Many people abandoned the very notion of learning their own Mohican language. Which was heartbreaking. They didn’t care about their own Mohican language. They didn’t care that I cared about the Mohican language so much. So many self appointed teachers there that many people informed me are not experts at all. That was disappointing too. I truly felt I have wasted my time ever helping Mohican people. I am heartbroken that the Mohican people don’t care about their own Mohican language. Basically, assuring that no one will ever be able to speak the Mohican language again. They essentially made sure it stay dead and buried. That is sad because one chief once said that once a tribe lets it’s own language die in this case the Mohican language than the tribe dies. From my point of view this has definitely happened with the Mohican language and their Mohican tribe.
Now I have all these Mohican words, photos, people’s faces I would rather ditch since it feels like its taking up precious space in my head. Once I was officially told that I was Ojibwe and that my mother was really Ojibwe and I saw her face I knew instantly I was hers and that was the best proof I ever saw. My heart leaped finally realizing I actually look like someone. I grew up with the Mohicans never looking like any of them. I often wondered why? Well no duh, I was Ojibwe from Minnesota. I am ticked off at everyone who knew I was not Mohican and especially those who also knew I was really Ojibwe. What a sick twisted bastard would purposely destroy someone’s life by denying them their biological family, tribe, and heritage? I am so pissed off. The kind of Righteous Rage that Jesus had when he flipped over the money changers tables and then got out a whip and began to whip them in front of everybody. Everybody thinks that Jesus is some sort of peaceful, pacifist, and hippie. Read your bibles! If something is truly an injustice Jesus will lay down the law and he won’t be all hugs and kisses about it either. Jesus whipped these people! I feel that Righteous Rage when I think of the Mohican tribe who consciously knew I was not Mohican. The Mohicans that not only hid my true identity, but also sexually assaulted me, sided with my abusers, blamed the victim, made me a victim of child pornography and profited by sexually exploited me. I feel Right Rage that not one single Mohican from the tribe came to hold my hand as I testified against a Mohican with a decade and a half of sexual assault and victimizing in child pornography. Not one. Where were they? They were sitting behind my Mohican abuser! Well guess what? The judge convicted this Mohican and sentenced him to be a sex offender for life. I once had a lawyer who passed away recently try to tell me that is impossible to convict a sexual abuser when your a child. Lady, I did. It’s now court record. I honestly wished it wouldn’t have come to it. At 15 years old I sat my abuser down and had a frank heart to heart with them and said you are sick and that you need help. He sat there in silence. But the next day he was right at it sexually assaulting me. I told his Mohican family members and they decided to side with the abuser. I tried everything before testifying in court and everything I said in court I stated was true and I stuck to my testimony for a whole year. I could have thrown the book at him and demanded a full sentence including extensive prison time and fines. I decided to think holistically and contemplated what was best for the whole family. The Mohican abuser had Mohican children and if he went to prison they would have lost the home since he was the only breadwinner. I had deep compassion for those Mohican children. I also don’t believe extensive prison time would address the problem because this abuser was abused himself by three Mohican relatives. Incest runs rampant so does domestic violence. Every Mohican I encountered have deep seated secrets of violence and sexual abuse after I talk to them and they are dead set in keeping those secrets at the expense of their own Mohican children. When I declared that I was leaving the Mohican tribe because of of the extensive abuse inflicted upon me by said tribe. Slowly one by one Mohican people secretly have been emailing me sharing their stories of suffering abuse telling me how the Mohican families and tribe maintain those violence and abuse secrets at the expense of actual healing the issues. It’s like some sort of secret code I was encountering these Mohicans having. They will beat down any Mohican who tells the truth about what is really happening in a Mohican home. They will jump all over the Mohican victim into silence or they will assault that person for coming forward to heal and protect other children they will attack you for the rest of your life. Mohican people are nasty to keep their violence and abuse secrets will threaten to harm you physically if you talk about your truth.
That is why I am done. Why I think of the Mohican tribe and I feel there is no honor where the abusers run rampant. Why I refuse to be subjected to such injustices tribally anymore. That when I speak out I am always told the Mohican Tribe can do no wrong because they are not held accountable because of sovereign immunity. Well I got an answer to that sovereign immunity. I am taking myself and all my children and the future children for the next seven generations and we’re running away from the abuse from the Mohican Tribe. I am running to save my own life. I am running to protect my offspring. I don’t want them anywhere near such extreme dysfunction. I don’t want them to see that abusers are protected and the victims are crushed to a bloody pulp into silence because they dare to love themselves and other children more. That yes there is Intergenerational Trauma, but this is time to not accept unacceptable behavior. To say STOP! No More Forever! I refuse to be trapped in a Mohican tribe that purposely hid that I come from an Ojibwe mother and a Vietnam Veteran who looked for me and could not find me my entire childhood. They robbed not only me the chance to be raised by my biological parents they also robbed my biological parents to having the opportunity to raise me and to know me. They spent tons of time and money searching for me and that secrecy that I discovered plagues the Mohican tribe is also the secrecy that also blocked my biological parents from ever finding me! I am outraged! This is the basis of my Righteous Rage! No one can give me back my childhood with my real biological parents. No one can give peace of mind for all the years my Ojibwe mother was wondering where the fuck I was? What a disgrace to a Vietnam Veteran to rob him of his oldest daughter! Mohican people so hypocritical sitting their with their annual Veterans Pow Wow and their Veterans Association. Yet, they have no problem keeping me from a Vietnam Veteran his first born child. Mohican Tribe and their gestures to praise Veterans yet they have no problem ruining the life of an Army Ranger Vietnam Veteran by stealing and concealing his daughter! The entire Mohican Tribe owes my father a Vietnam Veteran an apology for ruining not only my life but his! I will no longer stay silent while this hypocritcal tribe backstabs my Vietnam Veteran father while they stuff their fat faces with fry bread at their “Veteran” Pow Wow.
In 12 step programs, there is such a thing about making amends for wrongdoings. What will the Mohican tribe do for putting me, my biological parents, and the Ojibwe/Anishnabe from stealing one of their own, brainwashing them into believing they are someone they are not, subjected to violence and sexual assault, child pornography. What amends will the Mohican tribe make to the Ojibwe for taking one their precious Anishnaabe children away? For making her a Stolen Child, not just a Lost Bird, but a child ripped from Ojibwe mother’s harms at the very hospital she was born. Who cares how bad my Ojibwe mother cried for losing her first born? Who cares how many tears that my biological father cried a Vietnam Veteran cried? How much time and money my biological parents spent searching endlessly for me? Who will give back my biological parents every penny they wasted spending looking for me? Where is that check? Who will give back my biological parents every second that they wasted searching dead ends? Where is my justice? Where is my biological parents justice?
Which brings me to this part of my story. It was me that found my biological parents. I asked a simple question and it flew open the doors to the truth despite the blackness that sealed their files. With the power and justice of God alone he empowered me with the insight to ask the one burning question that kicked down the doors of secrecy and criminal lies. God delivered me to the right people who flung the doors of truth of open for me. Even when I asked THE question I didn’t even have the conscious awareness that I was Stolen. I had no clue! God knew! God always knew and he was not going to let me die without reaching my biological parents and letting them know I AM HERE! I AM ALIVE! Please don’t search dead ends anymore! I EXIST! They received me. They heard me. They know I exist. I even got to see my parents faces and to know I am an older sister to a beautiful younger sister. I have a real family one that was denied to me, but because of the healing redemption of God he restored me to my rightful truth to my own name, my correct tribe, my correct biological parents, my one and only biological sister, and my true heritage including the Ojibwe tribe I really come from. I have a different Ojibwe creation story, legends, and prophecies! I am so blessed. That in God’s great mercy that even though the Enemy stole me from my biological parents God still won in the end! God in his great wisdom and justice blessed me with the truth. Now when I look in the mirror I see my mother’s face smiling back at me. I know the source of my suffering that caused PTSD and it was because I was STOLEN. The damage that does is horrific. I pray for the day that my family can truly heal from such extensive crimes. I pray for the day that though so much has been lost that the time remaining left in my life would be a time of great Jubilee.
So yes I have lost precious time and precious memories with the Ojibwe tribe and my biological family. I decided to heed the vision in the Lakota sweatlodge hosted by Wendell Birdhead and his loving family who handed me his Eagle feather that is beaded with glorious colors. I prayed a fierce prayer over my the restoration of my biological family. I saw my Ojibwe grandfather approach me and he told me “RUN! RUN! RUN from the Mohican Tribe! Come home to YOUR people, the Ojibwe Nation. Then all these Ojibwe women appeared jumping up and down in glorious joy and happiness and I felt a love I have never known. They keeping cheering to me on and they kept repeating to me over and over “Come home to us! We’re You’re REAL Family!” “Come Home!” “We Love You!” “We Miss YOU!” “You are one of US!” “We know about you, the Medicine People speak of you in our ceremonies to look for you!” “Come Home Wabun Anung! Come Home Morning Star! We need you! We are the ones who will truly love you! We are your REAL family!” I felt such peace and love like I couldn’t describe as the sweat poured down over me. All the blocked tears released!
I successfully found my biological family with the Grace of God. Lately, Native American people have been coming to me asking me to help them find their lost relatives. Those that are hidden. Perhaps the 26 years I have been doing Native American research, that I used ceremony to successfully call my biological ancestors whose blood who runs through my veins, my biological ancestors heard me they answered my call, they pleaded with God to help me find them to know them. My biological ancestors wanted me to return back to them to restore the family name and heal. I was the conduit of God’s Grace and Justice that unlocked the biggest secret of my life that I was not even consciously aware that existed. God used me as his instrument to destroy a family curse. I am so grateful God heard me, heard my biological ancestors, and he is a God of Restoration and Justice. Now I have been hired by a Native American family to reach into the void and call to their blood Ancestors to hear our call, their pleading with God to use me as the vessel that will bring the restoration to their families as well. I developed over time a specialty in Native American genealogy as well as finding that which is hidden and lost. Yes, I use traditional genealogy and research methods, but I also use the power of Native American ceremony and prayer, I tap into the biological Ancestors, and with God’s blessings I pull the veil back and see what can be restored. This fits me since I used to also work in an Archives where historical records were stored at a library for four years. Unlocking secrets. I call myself a Family Artist, because not only do I do what genealogists do with genealogy and research I merge that with the healing power of walking a medicine path as a Medicine Woman for 25 years thanks to the other Medicine Women who blessed me with their wisdom. I am honored to give back to say thanks God for helping me find my biological family and thank you for letting me be the your vessel to restore family’s with your Grace and Justice.